I Walk Around the World – Tom Boerman
Walking around the world. A dream for many, reality for a few. The start of this dream has come true for Tom Boerman (34) last month. He wants to traverse the world and visit all 7 continents. Crossing 50 countries and walking 40,075 km in a period of 5 years. His goal? To be the first in the world to cross all 7 continents on foot. But there is more, because Tom wants to do a lot with the life lessons and projects he encounters along the way. From the French countryside, in an inspiring telephone interview, Tom tells us more about his mission.
What inspired you to walk around the world on your own?
The idea originated two years ago in Bulgaria where I was backpacking with a friend. I’ve always wanted to do something cool with my life, something that would inspire people. I also had an urge to see more of the world. During my travels in recent years I experienced what it feels like to withdraw into the wilderness. It makes it possible for you to get so close to yourself and your emotions, a feeling that’s indescribable. I wanted to do something that no one had ever done before, something that would be extreme. Then I found out that no one had ever crossed all continents (including Antarctica) on foot before, and then I knew – that’s going to be my goal. This would meet all my wishes and needs; something big enough to inspire many people all over the world and at the same time a journey that would satisfy my needs.
Besides this project, it has always been a dream to have my own foundation. A foundation where all the money actually goes to charity. I’m so extremely lucky to be living the way I do – I’m free to come and go as I please. So I thought, what if, with all the attention I get through social media, for example, I could also give a lot of attention to beautiful, meaningful projects that I encounter along the way. Literally responding to the misery that might come my way. I honestly think somehow we all have to contribute to the bigger picture. That’s why I founded Walk Around The World, making sure every penny goes to the project. Suppose I come across a children’s home in Albania, then I can set up a crowdfunding campaign through Instagram. All overhead costs are paid by my sponsors, so every cent goes to the project. Later, I’ll fly back to film the project to hopefully see that the money has been well spent.
My first goal is to reach Istanbul. While walking, I’m going to think about which continent is next. From a Western point of view, we’re so used to live according to a plan. In school, we were taught to think and to plan, but never to feel. I live day by day – I feel what’s going on. Due to political situations and corona, many plans will undoubtedly have to be changed, which is why I look at it day by day. I want to be a free person, not a slave to my own schedule. I only live once and want to be as free as a bird.
Besides achieving your goals, is there anything else you strive for?
A few years ago, a lot went wrong in my life, on many levels it was a mess. Then I made a bucket list – everything I wanted to do before I died. Many people around me have passed away and that has had a big impact on me. Life is so incredibly short. People live in their own created prison, without realizing it. For many people, working five days is the norm so they can buy an even bigger house, an even more expensive car, even more stuff. They don’t care about the choices they make. They no longer like their job but can’t switch because they are tied to their mortgage, to fixed costs, to their partner. People are addicted to stuff and therefor they create their own prison and somewhere also their ruin. There are too many people who have never really lived.
So for me it was common sense to create that bucket list – no matter what – for the next ten years I would only do what I really enjoy. So I sold all my stuff, no more house, no car, no possessions. Worked hard so that I could save a lot to finally start this journey. Putting all my experiences on paper to write a good book is one of my goals. In addition, it gives me an incredibly good feeling to inspire people. If I can mean something to others in this way, I’m happy. Showing people how it can be done – even if there are only five.
What do you hope to find in yourself?
Unfortunately, I also tend to want more. The feeling of wanting more is human. I realize I have that too, not so much in stuff, but in other ways. Wanting to see, experience, feel, achieve more. That’s one of my goals on this journey – trying to let go of that and live more in the now. Be more satisfied with what is.
I truly believe that the world is going to break because there must always be more. A world without status and power would look completely different. Maybe it’s impossible, but I think it would be really nice to not always want more.
How can people follow and support you?
I have an account on instagram , where I share my daily experiences. On my site www.iwalkaroundtheworld.com you can find more background information and ultimately also the projects that my foundation will support.
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Pics Tom Boerman